Looking to buy or sell housing? Getting a proper appraisal may benefit your experience

Free, online home estimates may not match property records

How accurate is a home's value?

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The booming housing market in Tucson may have you thinking about buying or selling.

With a hot housing market, appraisals are in high demand.

Kent Maas has worked as an appraiser for 35 years, and says lately- he receives at least 20 calls a day for appraisals.

Work took Maas to a townhome in the Catalina Foothills where at first glance, he noticed the property’s footprint did not match what was on record.

“I would say there is always discrepancies, but major discrepancies probably about 20 percent of the time. It’s pretty high," Maas said.

Which is why recommends people get an appraisal instead of putting a lot of faith in websites and apps that can quickly pull up a free estimate of a home’s value.

“It doesn’t tell you, ‘Hey all these houses at this end were completely remodeled and have high view lots while these houses down here are down low and you can’t see anything,’" Maas said.

Maas said while the websites and apps use a lot of the same information he does, the algorithms can sometimes produce unrealistic numbers, especially when someone has flipped a home in a neighborhood.

“They will have a $100,000 and put $60,000 into it and sell it at $200 thousand and something. Here’s what the problem is, statistically, it is going to show that the house just sold for $100,000 and now it sold for $200,000. That number in itself shows a 100 percent increase in a matter of months,” Maas said.

Maas said that data can skew the numbers collected and used in those algorithms that produce quick home value estimates.

At the end of the day, Maas has one piece of advice.

“If they are looking for value, you’re not going to find it unless you get a physical appraisal done,” Maas said.

According to Freddie Mac, home sales are up 25 percent from a year ago.

In August 2020, first-time home buyer activity rose 19 percent from July to the highest monthly level ever for Freddie Mac.

Interest rates are a big factor, a 30-year fixed loan is at a record low 2.86 percent.

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